Picking up the training at the competitions has been this year focus. More or less all have felt the impact of the pandemic, but no doubt that the differences between where you live comes into play. Nevertheless many fights of inspirations – as always. And the level in the women’s category has never been better.
We have seen that difference between the top nations and the mid/bottom level has increased – which is not unexpected, seen in relation to how much it is possible to invest in the different countries, what status Karate has in the country you live, etc.
Frequency and ranking. We have always had an interest to make a ranking of the fighters, summing up in the end of the year, and awarded the top fighters. Now this is not feasible anymore, not with a system that has been commonly used. One can not give the same number of ranking point to a fighter winning a major tournament with one or two fights, as “the team mate” must fight and win 4-6 six fight to get the same “results” And on top of that: the difference in the level from one major tournament to an other (called the same) are of significant importance. Taking the European region as an example – how many European Championship?!
We start in Japan, the land of Karate, and like many other places events was canceled and/or postponed.
The 6th JFKO All Japan Open this Spring. This tournament hold a significant high level, and we are speaking of some of the very best fighters of the world. And as this in the final in the light weight category, this will be the level we will see this year in the 7th World Championship in Poland. Misaki The 6th edition could show 103 fighters in the women’s division, and 288 including the men’s category! Misaki Teshima and Ren Mizutani, both so high quality fighters that the also climbs in the open weight tournaments. Besides top results, technical awards also goes in that direction!
So, one of many stops in Europe and the 34th European Championship IKO, and the lightweight category. The women’s division in total was dominated by Russia, with victories in all categories plus 2nd and 3rd places as well. The fight we take a look at is the 3rd place fight between Inna Veliksar / Moldavo vs Natalia Konovalova / Russia. we can reveal that it will be a short fight, but will it be a knock out?
KWF 3rd World Championship in Poland. Last one in 2018 was held in Kazakhstan, and had a decent line up, strong participation from Kazakhstan and not least Japan. Notable support from other organisation made it hard to reach the top. This time one could see longer in between the top names in the line up – but one of the best categories, and with two top names was the heaviest category for women. Top profile Emma Markwell / UK faced home fighter Aleksandra Karpuk / Poland. Markwell being the KWU World Champion – Karpuk being the reign KWF World Champion. Nice set up! Markwell being the favorite more merited – Karpuk defending champion on home soil!
Back in Japan…All Japan Open can be find in several editions, and here is well merited Reimi Asako vs Anju Aoki – All Japan Open Rengokai. Reimi Asako has been one of absolute top fighters from Japan, lately – but can she keep the pace? Watch and see.. 2021 All Japan Weight Category Women’s Heavyweight Final Reimi Asako vs Anju Aoki
Close to a new year, The 4th edition of World Kyokushin Budokai European Championship, held in Poland. This tournament included children down to 8-9 years, and all the way up to seniors, veterans “Old masters” Ukraine and Poland – the two leading nations, and we picked a fight that represent both nations, in the -60 kg category: Kondeusz Natalia / Poland vs Zhyrova Oryna / Ukraine. This was the final, and from what we could see, this was the only fight in this category.
We continue to wade in the number of European Championships, and this time we go to Lithuania and Open Weight category EFKO. As you known this tournament was taken by eminent Lili Mező – but we will this time focus on a first round fight between Alona Veresniak (Ukraine) VS Valeriya Krestina (Kazakhstan) We picked this one because this shows the aspect of an “Open-weight” category. With over 20 kg in difference, we do get a different setting right from the start. Krestina sows good drive and strength – Veresniak, the veteran – took the KWF World Championship tittle two weeks ahead this championship – and earlier in Georgia, she won WKO EC as well.
Another fighter that have been very successful this season has been Monika Zielińska / Poland. Captured two EC titles this season, took the KWU EC in December – but the “big bang” was the EC title taken i Georgia. Zielińska faced the toughest lie we have seen in many years – she went trough 3 World Champions to capture the tittle. But in Bulgaria, where the KWU EC was held the line up was in some cases quite pale compared to earlier editions, special when it comes to the numbers of participants. Anyway the final in the -70 kg category Monika Zielińska / Poland vs Amber Lindblom (Sweden)
Last stop The 53rd All Japan Open. The women’s division had 46 fighter, many of the with very strong records in their baggage. A good mix with fighters from many organisations from all around Japan. “The apple do not fall far away from the tree” That might be the case taking a look at one of the quarter-final Mihiro Suzuki, only 16 years old, taking on the 6th JFKO Lightweight champion Misaki Teshima.
All over we see so many good fighters, so many good results! And with results we mean not toffees – that part is a another story, good results mean improvement, reaching a higher level in the whole specter! Thanks for the inspirations in 2021!